How to Hide Your Valuables from Burglars
It is an awful thing to think about, but unfortunately robbery and theft are one of the most common opportunistic crimes to fall victim of. All it takes is for a robber to see the gleam of your massive TV through the window, and notice that you leave your door unlocked when you're in the back garden. Or for a visitor to your home to notice a pile of jewelry you've left unattended at the kitchen sink. There can be occasions where you have been a victim of crime and haven't even noticed until a few hours later. Opportunistic theft is just that- the thief takes an opportunity. In saying that, some burglaries are thought out and planned before execution, and you don't even stand a chance! So what can you do? How can you protect your valuables and your home?
Deter Burglers From Targeting Your Home
First of all, get the basics covered. A good, strong door and a good strong lock is required. A chain on the door is useful to prevent someone from barging through the door when you answer it, particularly if you live alone.
Alarm systems are a great deterrent, particularly to "professional" burglars, who know what signs to look out for. The bigger and more noticable the sensor is outside, the better- make it really obcious that your home is protected! Ensure that you choose an Alarm system that will notify everyone around you in case of a break in. The louder the Better! With a Smart Alarm system, you can even be notified of any movement inside your home by text, and the systems are so advanced now that they even account for pet movement so that your furry friends don't trigger the alarms by accident. Some even include internal cameras so that you can view what has caused the movement before notifying the police or taking any further action.
Tall fences surrounding the property make access more awkward, and any attempt at destroying the fence will attract attention. Motion sensor lights also draw attention to the property when someone comes within a certain distance of it. CCTV cameras are easy to obtain and set up, and you can easily buy "Warning CCTV*" signs online. All of these measures are a great way of deterring possible burglars from your home.
*Please note that if you do have CCTV on your property, it should only cover your own property and should not impose on any neighbouring gardens etc. It is also a legality in the UK to declare your CCTV usage if you want the footage to be used against any criminals, so even a small decal sticker on your window will make your CCTV compliant.
Defend Your Home From a Break In
As mentioned above, a good alarm system is a good defence- as long as it is properly set. This is one example of how important your own behaviour is in defending your home. An alarm is only useful if it is armed correctly. So ensure that you set it whenever you go out, or when you go to bed.
Ensure that you lock all windows and doors- leaving any of these open is an opportunity for theft waiting to happen. Even leaving some windows partially open can still allow a skilled burglar to gain entry to your home, so keep this in mind. Keeping doors and windows locked is usually an essential term of your home insurance, so don'g get caught out by letting a thief walk right into your house.
Lock your garden fences- use a strong latch and padlock. If you need to gain entry to your property from the back, consider an external yale type lock to be fitted on your gate. If legal, you can consider using barbed wire on top of your fences etc. Burglars prefer entering homes from the back as there are usually less chances of getting caught there- ensure the back of your property is secured
How to Greatly Inconvenience Burglars
Where do you store your keys? The majority of people store them near the front door, right? Or even in the lock itself? Even better? Wrong. Keys within reach of your door are at risk of being taken through the letterbox and used by the thief to unlock your door and walk straight into your home. They are very inventive and can easily use a wire to unhook keys from the lock or surrounding key holders. Keep keys well out of sight!
What about your car keys? On a hook near the door? Again, no!! The majority of car thefts from break ins occur because the car keys were so easy to obtain- either near the door or in an easy to spot location. Outwit the thief. Keep all keys out of view. Ideally behind a guard of some kind, like a lock box.
If you are regularly out of your house at certain times, try to mix it up if you can. Take different routes away from your house. If possible, change your mode of transport every now and again. Make your routine not so routine if you can. Thieves will take advantage of regular absences from your home if they have the opportunity to spot them.
Think about garden sheds or outbuildings- are your locks secure? Can the latches be easily unscrewed? Use a heavy duty padlock along with unscrew-able screws to keep your posessions secure outside as well as inside.
How To Protect Your Valuables from Burglars Inside Your Home
So we've looked at how to deter a burglar and how to defend your property from a potential thief. But what about if they manage to get INSIDE your house?
Is your home laid out to be as convenient as a supermarket? Are all of your valuables stored in a neat little box, able to be thrown into a bag? Are your electrical goodies all in plain sight? Are your savings all in a nice little piggy bank?
Now, you are allowed to have pretty things on display, but just try to make the thief's life as difficult as possible when they are in your house....
- Electrical products- you can't hide your TV. But you CAN make it almost impossible to steal intact. For example, using cable ties to secure the power cord to other, bulkier items could be enough to secure it, or put some one off. Even if it doesn't deter the thief, it can damage the item as they try to remove it. Personally, I think that's even better- it means they wont be making a penny on things I worked hard to pay for!!! Plus, insurance can cover the damage if the item is recovered.
- Cash and jewellery, I think hiding this is the best option. Unless you can afford a heavy, sturdy safe that is almost impossible to move by man, then hiding is probably the best bet. There are plenty of products in the market that are made to look like hotdog cans, or decorative candles, or any number of every day objects. There is a jewelry holder that is widely available here that is in the shape of a black dress- it has compartments in it to hold your items- and you hang it in your wardrobe! How many thieves are going to take the time to seek out your wardrobe and flick through it in an attempt to find your valuables? Not many, I can guess. Even with a small budget, there are plenty of household things that are great to stash your passports, cash and jewelry in. A cereal box, for example, can easily be glued back together to look as though it is unopened. Even if you keep it unopened, you can simply use the plastic bag within to further conceal your assets. Just make sure that noone in your family decides to clear out the pantry and dispose of your valuables!!
- CD's, DVD's and records, for example, can be kept in locked cabinets. It all depends on what value you put on your belongings. I like to rip all of my music to my ipod so that I can get to it easily, but the originals are stored safely away- I have quite a valued collection!
Basically, the easiest way to save your valuables from thieves is to make it difficult for them to steal from you. Re-evaluate your home from the mind of a possible theif. Look at every opportunity. Then think of a way to store your belongings so that they are not as easily accessible.
Be creative. Be inventive! And feel free to share any other tips and tricks with us all!
How to Protect Yourself Financially from Theives
Contents insurance can be bought for a few pounds per month and is essential in protecting your belongings from theft, fire and other risks. Some insurance policies will also cover items that you take outside of the home, such as mobile phones or jewellery, so will help you to replace items if you are a victim of theft.
While nothing can ease the uneasy feeling after a burglary, you can replace most of your possessions as long as you have a good, thorough policy in place. Remember to read your T+Cs to know what you are covered for, and ensure that you estimate your contents as accurately as you can to ensure that you have sufficient cover for all of your worldly possessions.
With a few modifications, and a bit of thought, you can outwit burglars and prevent them from making a profit on your hard earned belongings. Please share any feedback or suggestions that you have in the comments.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Lynsey Hart